In this lesson plan drawing on material from Latino Americans, students evaluate preconceptions and stereotypes about Latinos and how they have come to the United States. A reflective pre-activity is followed by analysis of statistical graphs from the Pew Research Center.
- Reflect on personal experiences of stereotyping
- Identify common stereotypes of Latinos, using current social science research
- Compare and contrast these stereotypes actual statistics on citizenship, language, nation of origin and other variables.
- Synthesize and share findings
Grade Levels: 4-8
- At least one class period
- Stereotypes vs. Statistics Organizer
- Tables from Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project (tables 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
Suggested teacher resources:
- The Impact of Media Stereotypes on Opinions and Attitudes Towards Latinos
- Hispanics in the U.S.
- The 10 Largest Hispanic Origin Groups
- Hispanic High School Graduates
- Latinos By Geography
- Hispanic Population Trends
Before the Lesson
Have you ever been judged unfairly because of how you look, the way you speak or the type of name you have? How does it feel? Is it fair or unfair? Has anyone ever made assumptions about you because of your age, your ethnicity or your gender? Write your responses to these questions and share in small groups. Discuss and define the term “stereotype.”
Part I: Stereotypes vs. Statistics (grades 4-8)
Latinos, like many other groups, face stereotypes. What is a stereotype? It is a set of assumptions, generalizations and judgments made about a person or group – just because of how they look, sound, act or what culture they belong to. While we are often aware of stereotypes in an informal way, social scientists try to precisely document such attitudes and what fuels them. At one time or another, most of us have been stereotyped by others and even used stereotypes ourselves. According to a study conducted in 2012, some common stereotypes of Latinos are:
- “Most Latinos are immigrants, not from the U.S.”
- “A high number of Latinos are in the U.S. illegally, without proper documentation”
- “They don’t want to learn or use English”
- “They take jobs from ‘real’ Americans”
- “Latinos are less educated”
Review the tables below to contrast actual statistics about Latinos versus the stereotypes above. Using the Stereotypes Versus Statistics Organizer set the record straight on some common stereotypes about Latinos.
Part II: Optional Closing Project
As a blogger for a prominent news site, you receive a call from your editor early one morning: a well-known politician was on national TV the night before describing Latinos with a lot of stereotypical language. Your editor wants you to write a piece sorting out Latino stereotypes from actual statistics. You can present your write-up in paragraph form (as if it were a blog), through a PowerPoint or using prezi.com.